Up/Down arrow on conflict window?

My goal is to have the same shortcut to trigger apps that I use most of the time, that start with the exact same letter (since spotlight sometimes gets slow or it shows other results and I want to go straight to the app). For example

They all have the shift+alt+p trigger, hence the conflict window. So it's super fast (compared to spotlight). But since I'm typing the letter, using the arrows would be faster than moving my hand to the mouse, drag the cursor, click the app's name. You know what I mean? It's just a better workflow for me.

If BTT had a more active community, I wouldn't mind keeping both apps, but it's pretty silent there. It's very hard to get any feedback or help. And to be honest, most stuff I can do with BTT, I can with KM, so to me it just makes sense to only use KM and then only use BTT for stuff KM can't do (or at least, I think KM doesn't do)

I see, let me think for a moment....

Basically this is what I have:
Screen Shot 2022-05-02 at 9.50.28 PM

So you want to type the one letter and then have a selection all apps that start like that. And then select the appropriate app?

@Frankb and @noisneil

Ok, I think I will approach it differently, because it's probably easier and faster.
I'm thinking of using a Trigger Macro by Name and then add certain "codes" per app, assigned to their name. This will be triggered by Alt+Space (similar to Spotlight's CMD+Space, but this is for my custom shortcuts).

For example, all macros' names will have, at the end, an = sign and then a combination of letters. For Photoshop it will be =ps, for Keyboard Maestro it will be =km, etc. That way I will be able to have the exact app, fast and don't have to deal with conflict windows and all that.

Screen Shot 2022-05-02 at 9.59.32 PM

Screen Shot 2022-05-02 at 10.00.31 PM

Screen Shot 2022-05-02 at 9.59.51 PM

That is a good approach :slight_smile: I would have also recommended "Trigger Macro by Name". With a prefix you can narrow down the search. Maybe noisneil has another idea.

Another approach is the "poor man's stream deck". This works with KM and BTT.

Thanks for the link.
I was looking at it, but I couldn't really understand the thread, as even the original question seemed a bit complex to understand.

Anyway, it seemed that you were using your top keys (ESC and the F keys), correct?
The issue is that it limits the amount of apps that can be assigned. With my example, I am able to keep adding more and more apps.

Also, for my workflow, I don't really like remembering key combinations or where an app is in relation to a certain key, so that's why I always try to build my workflow based on my own "common sense". If I only memorize that Alt+Space activates my custom spotlight and that = relates to an app (maybe I can add other symbols to open other things, for example, / could be for certain documents (instead of apps), then I can get there my just thinking of what I need. =cal for Calendar, etc.

The reason for adding a symbol is because, let's say there's another app that has the "cal" combination on its name. Then I would see both apps, so adding the = and adding the full combination =cal to the macro's name, I'm narrowing it down as much as possible.

For example, I'm thinking of creating the same alt+space shortcut on a per app basis, for example in Numbers if I hit alt+space then -center, it will align the text center (or -left, -right, etc). So it's just intuitive and I don't have to remember specific shortcuts

Forget the "poor man's stream deck" :slight_smile:

If you want to work intuitively with an initial letter. This would be a possibility. Let's say you want to launch the Photoshop app. That starts with "p". You type, eg

ctr + p

then you will see this palette (all apps that starts with "p")


press 3 (or click on Photoshop), done

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FWIW, I use Alfred for launching apps. You only need the free version for this.

⌃Space, PS, Enter = Loads Photoshop
⌃Space, PA, Enter = Loads Pages
⌃Space, PH, Enter = Loads Photos

I know it might seem like more steps but hear me out... It never involves looking at the screen, and once you've used it a few times, ⌃Space becomes a muscle-memory reflex for whenever you want to launch something.

Personally, I think it's a great solution, but I'm me and you're you. :crazy_face:

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i totally agree with this. It't too bad there weren't more active there

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Agreed. But can't you do that with "Trigger Macro by Name"?

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Unfortunately, that's the way it is. But BTT is much more intuitive than KM. And BTT can do more things easily for the average user than KM.

This is pretty similar to the conflict window where you type the second letter, when the first one is present in all options.

It's hard for me to explain why these methods are "complex" to my brain. I think it's just the fact that you have to make these "associations" between the number and the app.
Again, it's hard to explain what I mean. It's not that it's hard to understand, that's not what I mean by complex. Let me give you a simple example of how my brain works:

You know when you have to press a button for like 1 second in order for a menu to become visible (for example on your phone)? I simply HATE that! I know it's a microsecond, but I rather have to type 5 letters (which ends up taking longer than the long press), because my brain sees the long press as a "waste of time". I don't know what it is hahaha

So in this method, using the shortcut and then having to look at all the options and making that decision, is something my brain doesn't really like. Here's why:

Let's say you have a list of 20 apps that have the same 1st letter. Now you have 20 options and you have to look for the number and make sure it corresponds to the app, whereas if you have a "code" (such as =ps) I know, right away, that it will open Photoshop. Even if I have to type =finder, it's more intuitive for me than having numbers associated with an app.

Hope it makes sense. Probably not haha

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This is the same method as the one I shared using the = symbol.
Using a prefix can be extremely helpful, because you are now filtering what you are searching for. = could be for apps, / could be for documents, ; could be for URLs, etc...

You can and that's what I ended up doing as I explain my process a few replies above :slight_smile: It seems simpler to me and faster

I agree that BTT is more "straight to the point" in general, but sometimes things are hidden inside sub menus, etc, and it ends up being less user friendly in certain scenarios. But to me, the fact that the community is super inactive, is a deal breaker.

Everything you say makes sense. In the end, it's about finding a solution that works for you. "Trigger Macro by Name" is certainly a good way to go.

BTT: This is a one man show. There are advantages to that. The downside is that one person can't be everywhere at the same time. Some users find that disappointing and turn away, like you. So the community is not very active. This is understandable.

I simply used both, BTT and KM, because I want the best of both worlds. What one can't do, the other can :slight_smile:

Kind of. Although, TBH, I'm baffled that anyone has to keep launching applications -- I just leave everything open, and after a couple of days Cmd-Tab will get me to anything I need!

How do you feel about a few extra key presses? I can understand the mind-mapping problem you describe -- how bad would trigger key combo, type a few letters eg "Pho", and have a list you could use arrow keys in (or simply carry on typing)? So the same as Spotlight but without the delay and with far fewer possibilities...

I'm thinking:

  • Put all your "Open this thing..." macros into a single "Open App" Group
  • Make sure their names all start with the name you associate with the app (so "Photoshop" rather than "Adobe Photoshop")
  • Make a new macro in the Global group which is simply "Trigger Macro by Name", limited to macros in the "Open App" Group

Unfortunately I can find no way to regex the search so it matches the start of any name, and it searches inside the macros unless you use the "name" qualifier (and if you do as a default, the behaviour is that any search would overtype it unless you arrow-keyed past it first), but you'd only have to trigger the global macro then type 2 or 3 consecutive characters to get a short list you could easily arrow through.

That's..brilliant Neil. Right now I've got a big ol' folder of macros for switching to applications and when I don't have one set up I fall back to Alfred! Why don't I just use Alfred to start with and save the care and feeding of the "switcher" folder?

A couple of macros perform some other action besides activation, but I can finesse that with Alfred. Thanks for the eye-opener.

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@devoy I'm sure you already know you can run KM macros from Alfred using the URL trigger, or alternatively you could have certain application launches trigger them (if you want them to happen every time, that is).